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(2002) (Ian Holm, Iben Hjeile) (PG)

Blood/Gore Disrespectful/
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Tense Scenes
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Minor None Minor None Minor
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Comedy: After years of exile following his defeat at Waterloo, Napoleon sneaks his way back to France in hopes of regaining control of his country, only to have his plan complicated by a body double who decides he isn't through posing as the Emperor.
It's been six years since Napoleon Bonaparte's (IAM HOLM) defeat at Waterloo, and the former emperor has spent all of the time exiled on the Island of St. Helena under the supervision of British military forces led by Captain Nicholls (BOB MASON). While surrounded by a devoted staff of fellow exiled Frenchman, Napoleon longs to return to his land and reclaim it as his.

Being located in the south Atlantic Ocean and surrounded by British forces obviously makes that near impossible, but the Emperor's men have concocted a plan that just might work. It seems they've found a near look-alike man in the form of Eugene (IAM HOLM), a less than polished commoner and lifelong crewman on the Emperor's fleet.

Believing they can fool Nicholls and his men with Eugene long enough for the Emperor to return to France, they set the plan into motion with Napoleon serving as a galley hand onboard a ship ready to set sail. Unfortunately for him, the captain decides not to land in France, but instead docks some ways away. Needing to maintain his low profile, the Emperor then sets out on foot and by carriage for Paris, only to be disheartened to learn that his former exploits and battlefields have been turned into tourist attractions.

More trouble is brewing back on St. Helena where Eugene has decided he likes playing the Emperor and will not go along with revealing the ruse. Since he's a spitting image of Napoleon, none of the Emperor's men have any recourse. Meanwhile, Napoleon finally makes it to Paris where he meets the recent widow, Pumpkin (IBEN HJEJLE), of one of his former military officers.

A watermelon seller, Pumpkin doesn't initially like Napoleon - who's going by the name of Eugene - particularly when she's concerned about having all of her belongings repossessed and having to care for Gerard (TOM WATSON), a young orphan.

From that point on, and as Napoleon awaits news of the St. Helena ruse to be delivered so that he can regain control of his country, he finds himself falling for Pumpkin and vice-versa, much to the dismay of a local physician, Dr. Lambert (TIM McINNERNY), who's patiently been waiting on the sidelines for his chance at romance with her.

Unless they're fans of someone in the cast or period/historical films, it doesn't seem very likely.
For brief language.
  • IAM HOLM plays Napoleon who must hide his leadership tendencies while posing as another man in his attempt to regain control of his land. Smart and witty, he occasionally becomes frustrated by waiting and signs that his plan might not work. The actor also plays his body double, a commoner who becomes power hungry in his role and lets that power go to his head.
  • IBEN HJEJLE plays a recent widow who eventually begins to fall for Napoleon (thinking he's Eugene) and then becomes upset when he starts talking what she thinks is nonsense about him being the real Napoleon.
  • TIM McINNERNY a local physician who's sweet on Pumpkin and becomes jealous when she and Napoleon/Eugene begin to be drawn to each other.
  • TOM WATSON plays a young orphan that Pumpkin is caring for.
  • BOB MASON plays the British commander overseeing the exile of Napoleon on St. Helena.


    Curious if this title is entertaining, any good, and/or has any artistic merit?
    Then read OUR TAKE of this film.

    (Note: The "Our Take" review of this title examines the film's artistic merits and does not take into account any of the possibly objectionable material listed below).

    Here's a brief look at the content found in this comedy that's been rated PG. Profanity consists of only a handful of minor expletives, while a similarly small number of colorful phrases are also uttered. Some non-explicit, sexually related comments are made, a few women show cleavage, and we twice see a man and woman (who are not married) in bed together, but no sexual material or nudity occurs (and it's not clear whether they've been intimate or not).

    Various characters drink and/or smoke, some have varying degrees of bad attitudes and some tense family material includes a father being estranged from his son and a woman recently having her husband die. Violence consists of a guard briefly striking a mental patient, some slapstick style material and a man accidentally cutting his own hand. Meanwhile, some brief bodily functions material is also present.

    Should you still be concerned about the film's appropriateness for yourself or anyone else in your home, you may want to look more closely at our detailed listings for more specific information regarding the film's content.

  • Pumpkin brings out some liquor for herself, Dr. Lambert and Napoleon, but Lambert says they shouldn't have any until Pumpkin's dead husband is laid to rest.
  • Later, however, we do see Pumpkin with a drink.
  • Eugene drinks and appears a bit intoxicated.
  • Napoleon and some men drink.
  • One of Napoleon's assistants has a glass of some sort of alcohol.
  • Lambert has several drinks in a bar.
  • We hear Napoleon urinating outside (and see him standing there).
  • We see a man in a coffin, but beyond being dead, he's not bloody or gory.
  • We hear a farting sound from Eugene.
  • We see a little bit of blood on Napoleon's hand from where he cut it, and Pumpkin later sees a bloody handprint on a door.
  • A person of higher rank treats Napoleon (posing as Eugene) in a demeaning manner on a ship.
  • Napoleon (posing as Eugene) and another man smoke cigars that Napoleon lifted from a captain's quarters. Napoleon also playfully cheats at playing checkers with that man.
  • Eugene decides not to play along with the preset rules and then takes it upon himself to become Napoleon.
  • Dr. Lambert becomes jealous of Pumpkin's time and interest with Napoleon and works to undermine him. He finds the small framed portrait of Napoleon's son, takes it from Napoleon's belongings, and eventually tosses it away.
  • Pumpkin takes a chicken to the cutting block and raises a cleaver, but is interrupted before beheading the bird.
  • Swords/Rifles: Carried by various guards.
  • A cartoon drawing of a cannon is seen in a projected image.
  • Phrases: "Idiot," "Sitting around on his fat ass" and "Stop stuffing your damn face."
  • None.
  • A tiny bit of such music plays in the film.
  • None.
  • At least 1 ass, 1 damn and 1 use of "Oh my God" as exclamations.
  • Eugene, acting like Napoleon commenting on his past, talks about a woman who refused his advances and attempts to get her alone, and how he told her what would become of her country if she didn't "submit to my..." (but he's interrupted before finishing that thought). Later, a person reads aloud from the published memoirs, "...and explained what would happen to her country if she didn't submit to my desires. That night, I conquered my Poland of the flesh. The next morning, what did she say? Do it again. Yes, do it again."
  • Some miscellaneous women show some cleavage.
  • Pumpkin and Napoleon briefly kiss.
  • We see Napoleon wake up in bed with Pumpkin (both are in their nightclothes), but there's no indication of whether they had sex. We later see them in bed together, but again nothing is happening and there's no indication either way regarding possible sex.
  • Napoleon (posing as Eugene) and another man smoke cigars that Napoleon lifted from a captain's quarters, while Lambert twice smokes a cigar and a miscellaneous character also smokes one.
  • Napoleon states that his son turned his back on him and the Empire, and indicates he wants nothing more to do with him (and hasn't seen him in 6 years due to the exile), but then takes a small portrait of the son with him back to France.
  • We see that Pumpkin's husband has died (we see her next to his coffin, talking to him, saying she tried to be a good wife). She later comments that she barely saw her husband for 15 years as he traveled with Napoleon around the world.
  • The real Napoleon and the history of him and his actions.
  • Insanity - we briefly see a mental asylum where many people think they're Napoleon.
  • Napoleon is momentarily knocked out from slipping and apparently hitting his head (the fall is not seen).
  • Some brief slapstick material has miscellaneous people slipping and falling after stepping onto watermelon rinds.
  • A man falls off his stool and is dead (not from the fall, but rather natural causes).
  • Napoleon (as Eugene) knocks over many books in anger and we then see that he's been thrown out onto the street (we see him land there).
  • Napoleon grabs Dr. Lambert by his clothes in a menacing fashion.
  • A guard whacks a mental patient with a club to make him go indoors.
  • Napoleon cuts his hand while scaling a wall.

  • Reviewed June 19, 2002 / Posted June 28, 2002

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